Ray tracing. Many have said that graphics rendering by ray tracing is the only way to truly achieve the imagery end-game we all seek. Many have disagreed. PC Perspective has been here covering both sides of this debate for quite some time.
We have hosted articles from ray tracing visionaries; we have interviewed prominent game developers and tech minds on the topic; we have seen what ray tracing developers envision; we have looked at Intel’s team of minds on ray tracing; and now we investigate another claim on the path of ray tracing's move to the mainstream.
Who is Caustic Graphics?
In March of this year, Caustic Graphics surfaced as a break through hardware and software design company with claims of solving the problem of ray tracing. Founded by a trio of individuals from Apple Computer, one of which I met with in their offices in San Francisco, the company was originally formed in 2006 and has been operating silently until now. The company CTO, James McCombe, was "number 3" in the world of OpenGL at Apple and joined the company in 2001 when there was basically no support for 3D technology on Mac. He was one of three people to design the software stack for OpenGL on the platform and helped develop the languages used for fragment shading, worked on the specifications for HLSL (high level shading language) and ended his run at Apple working in the embedded group on low power, efficient rasterization for the iPod and iPhone.
Caustic Graphics was formed after the three founders spent upwards of eight months together building models of ray tracing, testing out algorithms and deciding what direction the new company would eventually take. Today I can finally discuss the technical details behind the hardware and software that I learned in my recent visit.